Politics & Government

Here’s why Bellingham’s U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen now wants to impeach President Trump

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Rep. Rick Larsen wants to impeach the president.

Larsen, D-Everett, said President Donald Trump’s attacks, earlier this week, on four Democratic lawmakers, all of whom are women of color, make him unfit for office.

“He will use any excuse to attack people; he’s using people’s citizenship to attack them. I just don’t know that he understands the value of U.S. citizenship, and I don’t think he should be president,” Larsen said in a phone interview Thursday. “It has to do with his lack of understanding of U.S. citizenship and what that value means to people around the world.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, have previously come out in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry into Trump but have mostly stopped short of calling, flat out, for impeachment. Washington’s seven other Democratic members of Congress have not supported an impeachment inquiry.

Larsen, whose district includes Bellingham, has been firmly opposed to opening an impeachment inquiry for conduct outlined in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, preferring to let the Democratic-controlled House of Representative’s various investigations run their course.

He said his position on those investigations, which are ongoing, has not changed.

But he said Trump’s attacks on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, convinced him that Trump has “violated the public trust.”

Trump, on Sunday, tweeted that the four congresswoman, three of whom were born in the United States and all of whom are American citizens, “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces federal laws on job discrimination, writes on its website that, “Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting or ethnic epithets such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like ‘Go back to where you came from.’”

Trump’s remarks sparked outrage among House Democrats, who voted unanimously on Tuesday, with the support of just four Republicans, to condemn Trump’s remarks as racist.

On Wednesday, a motion to impeach Trump was defeated, with every Republican and most Democrats voting against impeachment. Larsen and Jayapal were the two Washington representatives who voted to impeach.

Larsen said the resolution didn’t really “speak to the reasons I think we should pursue impeachment, but it was still an opportunity to send an early message about the evolution of my thinking.”

He said he hasn’t asked other members of Congress their thoughts on impeachment and he hasn’t polled on the issue.

“I don’t think any member of Congress should want to impeach the president,” Larsen said. “I felt like I was left with no choice because of the president’s disrespect of citizenship.”

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